Wymondham Winter of 1939 / early 1940 question

Discussion in 'General' started by Tom 23, Dec 6, 2013.

  1. Tom 23

    Tom 23 Member

    135 (East Anglian)(Herts Yeo) Field Regiment RA(TA)
    The 135 (East Anglian) (Herts Yeo) Field Regiment RA was formed in September 1939 it consisted of three batteries, the;
    344 (Hitchin) Battery
    336 (Northampton) Battery
    499 Battery
    The Regiment remained in the United Kingdom until 1941


    My grandfather, Albert Cecil Beadle was in the 344 battery as above and by researching (plus his own recollection) confirmed he was based in Wymondham, Norfolk from November 1939.

    I have also sinced discovered that it was a severe winter at the end of 1939 into 1940 and my grandfather was snowed in somewhere that led to him being "as thin as a rake" and having to spend a year in hospital, with pneumonia.

    He was discharged from the army in April 1940, being physically unfit.

    My question is in what circumstances could a group of soldier be snowed in to the extent of severe starvation in the area of Wymondham, as surely even in the worst snow a village, town would have been within walking distant, especially if you were running low on supplies you would attempt to get to civilisation. He also could not speak of what had happened to his death.

    Is there anywhere I could find hospital records, I think he said he was in Colchester and there was military hospital there, that might give answers?

    Thank you.
  2. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member


    examples for January 1940:
    Mr. J. H. Dyson
    of Preston, near Canterbury, reported that
    for the 16th to the 31st, the aggregate snow­
    fall was 20 inches, that there were drifts up
    to 16 feet, that road traffic was stopped or
    restricted to single-line working from January....

    The north and north Midlands of England experienced around the 26th the greatest snow­
    falls of modern times. Much of Yorkshire, Lancashire, Derbyshire and Cheshire received
    between one and two feet of undrifted snow, and considerable tracts of the country probably
    more than two feet. In Sheffield, there were
    four feet of snow in the gardens, and pavements
    were rendered impassable for weeks by the vast
    masses if ice and hard compacted snow.
    Liverpool, Southport and the coastal plain of
    Lancashire, usually free of serious snowfalls, had a downfall as heavy as in Yorkshire. An
    express train was buried only a few miles from
    Preston Station. This great snowstorm ex­
    tended into Scotland, where the West Highland line was very heavily blocked, and into eastern
    and south-eastern England. Conditions on
    the higher Chiltern ridges were only a little less
    severe than those for the north, while in London
    and its suburbs the heavy drifting dry snow
    was remarkable.
  3. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    The regimental history has a page or two on that period. It records that 344 Bty at Wymondham had better billets than 336 Bty in the grounds of Kimberley House. However, 344 Bty were responsible for manning four 4.5" howitzers on the coast at Weybourne so a proportion of the battery personnel were detached there: "part of 344 Battery celebrated Christmas at Weybourne but it is not clear how long they stayed there." On top of the sub-zero conditions throughout January 1940, influenza broke out, followed by smaller episodes of measles and mumps. Again, 344 Bty were 'lucky' as better medical facilities were available in Wymondham than 336 Bty and RHQ out in the sticks.
  4. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    1939/40 was the worst winter in living memeory, throughout Europe; you could drive lorries across the frozen Gulf of Finland. That spring the British/French/Poles landed in Norway and were surprised to still be up to their knees in snow.

    I can't remember 1940, but the winter of 1947 was bad, full rationing was still on, you couldn't even get coal as it was frozen in a solid lump in the coal yards; many isolated villages were cut off - so I can imagine that those troops suffered. Now we get a cold snap and we are told that conditions are worse than ever before!
  5. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

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